Underground Walking Tour, it was interesting to walk around the current day incarnation and compare it with how it used to be. The impetus for creating the walking tour as a way to promote awareness of and preserve heritage buildings arose when the once elegant flatiron shaped Grand Seattle Hotel was torn down and replaced with the concrete "Sinking Ship Parking Lot". To prevent further losses, the entire Pioneer Square area was designated a historic district through the lobbying efforts of Bill Speidel. As a result, the stunning Pioneer Building and Pergola (a Parisian-esque shelter where commuters used to wait for the trolley to go by) still stand today looking very much like they did in old photos.
The Artic Building used to a men's club in 1916 and prominently features gorgeously ornate columns each highlighted by the head and tusk of a walrus. Today, it is a luxury hotel called the Arctic Club Seattle.
A store called UtiliKilts sells kilts with pockets for tools. A sales clerk came out modelling one and we were tempted to ask him if he was going regimental. A gift shop called Fireworks had a book called "Porn for Women" with glossy photos of hot men who love to shop, go to craft shows and vacuum. The quirkest shop though was one called Shotgun Ceremonies that offered quicky Vegas-styled marriages. Included in the price are 2 shot glasses, personalized framed photo and an interactive ceremony. They also seem to offer lap dance lessons.
Just a few blocks from this area of great shops and attractions, the streets get a bit sketchier. Here on Yesler Way, we have the original "Skid Row", so named because the sloped road was the path that logs from Henry Yesler's sawmill came sliding down. Today the term has come to mean "a rundown, dilapidated urban area with a large, impoverished population" which is still appropriate since several homeless shelters can be found here.